Why Character Portraits Are Missing From Rune Factory Oceans

By Ishaan . October 22, 2010 . 3:25pm


With the initial reveal of Rune Factory Oceans and opening salvo of screenshots out of the way, the game’s producer, Yoshifumi Hashimoto, kicked off a developer blog with a post on a couple of development and design tidbits.


The first is to do with loading times. If you played Rune Factory Frontier, you may recall that it would put up a loading screen whenever you walked from one area to the next and the game needed to load all the new geometry and textures in for the new area.


Oceans still requires this, but load times are something that Marvelous and developer, Neverland, are trying to cut down on. Hashimoto says that constant research and development was performed with the lofty goal of attaining load times similar to those of Muramasa: The Demon Blade — or that is to say, no load times between areas at all.


While Oceans isn’t quite there, load times have been cut down drastically so that the transition from area to area only takes about two seconds, which is a pretty major improvement over Frontier.



The second point Hashimoto talks about is conversations and events. In Rune Factory Frontier, like a lot of role-playing games, you had character portraits (like the example image above) to help express emotion during conversations. The camera angle was also such that your character model was viewed from a bit of a distance.


rf_oceans_event_01 rf_oceans_event_02

In Oceans, character models are front and centre during conversations, in place of portraits. We aren’t entirely sure yet if they’re just posed in different ways to be a 3D substitute for portraits or whether they actually animate.


Hashimoto says this was done because he believes 3D models can be used to better convey body language, such as determined or embarrassed poses. He wants the characters to feel “alive” and feels that 3D helps make the events feel more dramatic.


This decision on his part, he says, caused a lot of trouble for the team working on the events. It should also be pointed out that posing 3D models in different ways is far easier than creating a new portrait for each pose, so we dare say this factored into the decision as well.


Hashimoto closes his post out by saying that he’d like to show people more soon in a follow-up, and asks that fans wait a little longer.

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  • Developers dont collaborate or get tips from each other during developers conferences? To me it doesnt seem that hard to replicate what people do in the scientific community and share ideas. They can easily share and asked other developers on methods to make the game not have load times between areas, I think.

    • ??? Companies don’t send their army of programmers to conferences. They send the higher-ups: project managers, art directors, etc. And half the time, they seem to just showcase their upcoming games. At least that’s what is was like the last time I went to GDC.

  • vadde939

    I do not like this decision. Not one bit. The anime style character portraits was part of what makes Rune Factorys visual style so charming. This doesnt look nearly as attractive. Reminds me of KH Re:coded actually. Ugh.

    • Guest

      Anime style character portraits are in a ton of games. I dont think theres anything special or added charm for them in Rune Factory.

      • RF has a style of drawing ive never seen before, you could put a lot of anime characters and i could easily say wich ones are from rune factory style

    • Alrai

      Agreed. The way they did it, my attention’s drawn more to how static the background models are in comparison to the foreground.

  • Guest

    Neat idea. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done like this.

  • BelmontHeir

    Isn’t there a Rune Factory game coming to PS3 as well? No offense to Wii owners (I am one!) but I’m more looking forward to that one…

    • vadde939

      This game is multiplatform. It’s on Wii and PS3.

    • Well the tag in this article say PS3…and one of the four links says “oceans announced for wii and ps3”

      • BelmontHeir

        Oh ho ho. You are a clever little devil.

    • It’s the same game. :)

    • Guest

      Apparently you don’t even know anything about it or have seen but you’re looking forward to that one more *siiiiiiiiiiiiigh*

      • BelmontHeir

        I’m sorry I’m not as top of these things as you guys are :D

  • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

    Rune Factory on PS3 = no loading times. Well, supposedly, anyway. 2D and 3D which looks better/ more lively debate can go on forever. For me, the 3D will be a plus if you can see the models breathing, blinking, lip-syncing to dialogue, and animate as they speak. Otherwise if they serve the exact same functions as the static 2D ones it’s a minus. Oh, and unless the VA’s are good, none of that matters.

    • Maybe in the Japanese Voice, but I can probably bet my bottom dollar that the lip sync will not match the English voice acting :(

      • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

        Well then let’s hope the PS3 version will get language options when they bring it over here, there’s no excuse for a lack of disc space.

        • They could claim that the Wii didnt have enough space for dual language options so they decided not to include it in either version. I think weve seen this happen on multiple occasions across platforms, lol, :(

          • vadde939

            Not true. Samurai Warriors 3 and Fragile Dreams for Wii have eng/jpn dual language and they both have WAY more voice acting than any Rune Factory game. A dual layer Wii disc is 8gb thats plenty of room so if MMV make a claim like that I am gonna rage.

          • Phlo

            That’s dual-layer, which I seriously doubt this will be. It’s not something they can do lightly, due to the increased costs.

          • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

            Yeeeaaa… I realized that as soon as I posted… multiplatform rarely favors the PS3. :( indeed.

        • It isn’t just a matter of the disc , though. When you get voice-actors to do voices for a game, you need to pay them royalties if their work is included in an overseas version of the game as well. Depending on the amount of dialogue and the talent, this has the potential to be pretty high. So this means paying for English voice-actors as well as paying bonuses to the Japanese ones.It may not even be MMV’s decision. They could simply tell the localization publisher, “Sure, we’ll give you the Japanese voices, but only if you spring for their royalties.” And the U.S. publisher could very well choose not to do that.

          • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

            Ugh… noooo…. why do you have dash my hopes against the rocks?? :P

            There has been a good numbers of cases for dual audio tracks despite a large quantity of it so I’ll keep hoping. Even if the Rune Factory games have a record of not having original language. If English is the only option, however, I hope it will be Xseed because I love their dub work.

            If it is neither dual audio nor well-dubbed, then I’m going to cry in a corner.

          • Sorry, didn’t mean to dash any hopes. :(

            I just mentioned it so people understand why (this is a topic that comes up a LOT around here…) and don’t get too upset or disappointed later on when it’s announced as a single-track game.

            Honestly…I don’t even know if it will be Xseed publishing this game. Natsume are the ones that usually publish the Harvest Moon (and related) line, so Frontier was more the exception than the norm. And now, MMV are selling their licenses to the highest bidder, so I don’t know if that would apply to this game or not…

            I’m sure RFO will make it over. Just not sure who’s going to be behind it yet.

  • Cool, but i still dont like the 3D models when they talk… but it seems this cant be changed so nothing i can do about it, i will still love it :D

  • goronyan

    worth buying? dunno just asking

    • vadde939

      Its a sort of RPG/life sim combination. Give it a try. You might like it.

      • goronyan

        i really want an harvest moon like game for ps3 so i might try this one

        • MGSBigBoss

          Get Atelier Rorona

          • Was that game good? It seemed to get destroyed in reviews? Ive never played nary an Atelier game before.

          • MGSBigBoss

            Its a amazing in depth synthesis and creating items based game all while living the life sim of creating better relationships with your party members by doing quests or creating items for them to doing quests for the townsman and gaining public trust. The game takes place over a span of 3 years in which you have 12 assignments that must be done or else your workshop will be close ddown you have 90 days estimate to do each assignment. Its a great game you should try it.

          • goronyan

            i already have ^^

            and totori too

  • MrRobbyM

    And this shall be my first Rune Factory game.

    • regreto

      me too :)

      • MrRobbyM

        *high five*

  • It might be worth a buy.

  • zhemos

    Looks great. Wonder what the chances are of this getting localized?

  • puchinri

    That screen up there looks nice. I look forward to more screens.

    I’m kind of going to miss the portraits, but if they’re able to make conversation feel more alive with the models (I assume they’ll move at least a little bit), then I’m fine with that. I’m getting more and more excited for this.

    I just wish MMV would make another HM for Wii, or even for PS3. One that takes the better parts of Yasuragi/ToT and WakuAni/AP.

  • Vino (Tim N)

    I’m going to have to make time for this game in the future. It sounds like its coming along nicely, and is going to be a fantastic game to play.
    I’m going to assume its coming to North America since the rest have.
    Looking forward to RF3 in the next couple weeks.

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